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Apply to the MPA

Application Deadlines

Spring 2017: January 13, 2017 

Summer 2017: May 5, 2017

Fall 2017: August 1, 2017

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About the Program

This program prepares individuals for positions of leadership and management in public and nonprofit organizations. The program provides students with an advanced course of graduate study concentrating on the conceptual, technical, and professional education and skills required for administrative and leadership positions in governmental offices and nonprofit organizations. The program blends three essential components of training to prepare graduates for a career in the public or nonprofit sector:

1.  In-depth knowledge of the public and nonprofit sectors.

2.  Professional or craft knowledge in the administration of government and nonprofit organizations.

3.  Exposure of students to the world of practice by means of an MPA project (PAD 690).  (See MPA Projects for titles of current and completed MPA projects and the Digital Commons where some MPA projects have been uploaded.

For a complete listing of MPA Program requirements, visit MPA Program Requirements.

Admission Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (4.0 scale), or a master’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale). 

  • Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree, but do not meet either of the above criteria may be considered for admission upon a successful interview with the academic intake coordinator or if they attain a minimum quantitative and verbal score of 152 on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or complete 6 credit hours of 500-level PAD courses (courses must be pre-approved by the academic intake coordinator) at SUNY Buffalo State as an accepted MPA pre-major student with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5.

  • Two letters of reference on the MPA admission form that attest to the applicant's academic performance or potential. Please note that at least one reference must be from a college professor or instructor.  For those individuals who graduated from college more than five years ago (2012 or earlier) and can ask colleagues, supervisors, and individuals with whom they work with on community or nonprofit endeavors (boards, etc.) to write on their behalf.  The public administration admissions committee particularly seeks answers to the following questions: 1.  How long, and in what  capacity have you known the applicant?  2.  Does the applicant have any special talents, abilities, or attributes that deserve mention?  3.  Do you have any concerns about this applicant that would impede success in graduate studies? 

  • A letter of intent should describe:  why the applicant wishes to pursue the MPA; how the applicant's academic training and job experience, if applicable, are linked; why the applicant is prepared for study in the MPA program; a list of the applicant's educational objectives; background in statistics and/or methodology, if any; interest and future career goals; and, the choice of track (nonprofit or public administration) in which to concentrate.  The letter of intent will be evaluated as a writing sample according to organization conventions of language and content. With respect to experience in statistics and research methods, the MPA Admission Committee has been receiving a number of queries regarding their statistics/research methods background.  A wide variety of majors are represented in the MPA program, many from the arts and humanities without either coursework or job experience in either of these fields.  We ask students to explain their experience in their letter of intent to assist us in tailoring our PAD 680 Research Methods in Public Administration to the incoming class in fall and spring (PAD 680 is offered both semesters).  

  • Please indicate in the Letter of Intent if you are applying to the 17-month Cohort MPA Program.

  • A resume

  • Applicants for whom English is a second language must submit a score of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as documentation of English language proficiency. Applicants with a minimum TOEFL score of 550 or higher on the paper exam or 79 on the Internet exam, or with an IELTS score of 6.0 or higher will be considered for admission. Information on the TOEFL can be found at Information on the IELTS can be found at

  • English as a Second Language Program International students who do not meet the required English language requirement can be admitted to the Buffalo State's Intensive English Language Institute (IELI). Buffalo State’s English as a Second Language Program (ESLP) Intensive English Language Institute students must complete required coursework in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program and take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as documentation of English language proficiency. The ESL program is a non-degree, non-credit bearing program designed to help students with varying levels of English proficiency through coursework, interaction with native speakers of English, and individualized language practice. The program consists of six levels of English language study. Each level consists of 20 hours of class time per week, plus an additional 3 hours of small conversation group practice. Students who wish to pursue this course of action must first submit a completed graduate admission application and have their application materials reviewed by an academic department. After careful review of the students’ academic qualifications and their ability to succeed academically, the student is granted conditional acceptance into the Graduate School and admission into the IELTS. Students must notify the Graduate School within 30 days of their acceptance whether they will pursue the ESL program option. Upon successful completion of these requirements, students may then enroll as a full-time student in their program of study. For more information and to apply to the Intensive English Language Institute IELI, visit

  • In addition, all applicants should review the Admission to a Graduate Program section in the Graduate Catalog.
  • SUNY BUFFALO STATE UNDERGRADUATES - PLEASE NOTE - students who have earned a GPA of 3.0 or above in Buffalo State's Public Administration and Nonprofit Minor are guaranteed admission into the MPA program.  Student satisfying this requirement must: 1) fill out the Graduate School Application, 2) pay the application fee, and 3) follow instructions for official transcripts.  Reference letters and the letter of intent are waived. PLEASE NOTE IF A BUFFALO STATE STUDENT IS ADMITTED TO THE 4 + 1 PROGRAM, the application fee is waived.


Graduate assistantships are available at SUNY Buffalo State.  For college-wide opportunities, see Graduate School Assistantships.


The internship represents an application of theory in a practical setting.  The MPA internship is  a vehicle for diversified professional training encompasses research, planning, organization and ethical applications.  See Internships for information regarding credit and to contact the MPA internship coordinator.

Professional Organizations

MPA graduates gain mentoring, networking, and professional development and support through national (e.g., American Society for Public Administration, ASPA), regional (regional ASPA conferences and workshops), and local (Buffalo Niagara APSA Chapter, SUNY Buffalo State MPA Alumni Association).

Seeking Additional Information about the MPA Program?

Please contact the MPA coordinator for the track in which you are interested.  

Dr. Jason Rivera, Public Administration Track

Dr. Atta Ceesay, Nonprofit Track

Dr. Suparna Soni, International Public Management Track


For overall questions about the MPA program, please contact. Dr. Atta Ceesay, Director, Public Administration & Nonprofit Management Division, Political Science Department.



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Public Administration and Nonprofit Management

Buffalo State •  1300 Elmwood Ave  •  B218 Classroom Building
Buffalo, NY 14222  •  Phone: (716) 878-6116 •  Fax: (716) 878-3369